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2013 DN Centrals Report

By Griffin Sherry US 4


From left, Harry Defer, John Harper, Catherine Firmbach Goodwin, Paul Goodwin, Chip Cartwright, TJ Sherry, Renee Sherry, Ron Sherry, Griffin Sherry, Erica Baker.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Dad, Harry Defer, and I scouted and sailed Anchor Bay on Christmas Day and it was the best Christmas present that we could possibly have. The main reason we scouted ice was because we aren’t allowed to call a regional regatta on unless the ice has been sailed. That was the first time I’ve ever helped to scout ice for a regatta. The wind was blowing 20 knots when we arrived, the ice was bumpy, snow covered, and the visibility was bad. The weather cleared up and we sailed very far and found only small cracks. Everything we found was easily sailed over. We left the house at noon, were back home by three, then we went to my Aunt Loretta’s (Rehe) for our Sherry family Christmas. Sailing with Dad that day was the best Christmas present I could ever ask for.

Thursday, December 26, 2013
We went back to the lake on Thursday, the day after Christmas, with Jim Grogan and Harry Defer. Conditions were very windy at first and we sailed a bunch of scrub races. Harry and Jim sailed but Dad and I did not.

Friday, December 27, 2013
Friday was the Holiday Classic. We got three races in that day with about 25 boats in pretty light winds. I was trying different runners out and had a third, sixth, and a fifth. Mark Christensen won all three races.

Photo Credit: Catherine Firmbach
Saturday, December 28, 2014
Saturday was the first day of the Centrals. We only raced one time in the Gold fleet. Dad and I had a good battle. After rounding second on the first weather rounding and then third on the first leeward rounding, Dad passed me. I didn’t like that so I jumped out of the boat, passed him again, and we were duking it out back up the second beat. He was just to windward of me and behind me. I went down for speed; he stayed high, and caught up to me. We were battling it out and he got ahead of me. I rounded in a hike right behind Dad and he jibed, too early I thought. I waited 20 seconds after Dad jibed and then jibed. I got in front of Dad but finished second in the race. I went from fifth to second and finished that race in a big hike. I went over to Dad and said, “Daddio, that was a good battle, wasn’t it?” Dad said, “Good job, son, congratulations.”

The Gold fleet tried to get off two or three more races but all were black flagged because we didn’t make the time limit. It was warm, 50F with real light, shifty wind. Dad sent me into the pits to get angles (runners). When I was in shore, I saw my Aunt Jane and she told me to go and kick some butt. I put the runners in the boat to take out to the course and answered some questions from some ice fishermen about ice boating. I had to run back out to the course because there wasn’t any wind. Dad put the angles on his boat but I kept my snow slippers on my boat. We went for a sail and I went all the way to the weather mark. I remember passing him and laughing. I didn’t say anything to him because it was a practice race. Then Dad switched back to the slipper runners. During the last race, which was black-flagged, Dad was in the lead by what looked like a mile.

Saturday night we had a real nice party at North Star Sailing Club. Kent and Erica Baker created some trophies for the Holiday Classic. I got one that said “first place junior sailor silver fleet.” I told Kent, “You messed up! This is supposed to be gold fleet.” I’d like to thank Jon Russel for arranging the party at North Star. It was just how ice boaters like it, reasonably priced grub and drinks.

Sunday, December 29, 2013
Sunday morning, we found the ice had firmed up over night. There was much less snow and it looked like it would take no wind at all to race. As we waited for the wind to come up, my brother, TJ, Frankie Hearn, and I tried out a new boomerang that I got for Christmas. It kept coming back but too high and with not enough spin. Frankie said that just for kicks and giggles that he wanted to try throwing it backwards- turns out that he was throwing it the right way. Frankie ended up catching the boomerang one time and I was able to catch it four times.

TJ, Frankie, and Griffin
I still had slipper runners on my boat and didn’t want to change for fear of losing speed. Dad suggested I try out Joerg Bohn’s old stellite runners that Dad had traded Joerg for a few years ago. Dad told me he thought I could win the regatta with the 100 degree stellites.

The wind filled in and Frankie and I did a mini circuit. I took off and got in front of him. He was doing pretty good but was on real jumpy hikes. I told him he should try to ease his way up into the hikes. Frankie tried it and started to go a lot faster.

I switched my runners to the stellites and the race committee moved the course. We lined up for the second Gold race of the regatta. I started in the second position next to T who was at the first starting block. Dad was in block four. Dad yelled out that, “It’s a lotta fun starting next to a cross country [track] star!” Mark Christensen said that Dad had a problem starting to leeward of his son.

The race began and I had a better start than Dad but finally, he got in the groove and started to pass me again. Dad wanted to tack but couldn’t because I was there. I think it worked out for me. I tacked and Dad tacked behind me. Dad caught me just before I got to the weather mark and passed me. Then Dad and I jibed earlier than the Doctor. I got a puff and pointed straight to the leeward mark. The Doctor was right there with me and I rounded behind him. Dad came up right behind me at the leeward mark. I decided to tack one minute after the leeward rounding. I took that tack to windward and rounded in first place. I saw the Doctor, Dad, and another boat and I headed up to their angle because they were faster than I was. I jibed when the Doctor jibed. He headed higher than me. I hit a puff and took off and had a pretty nice rounding. I had real good speed and was in front of everyone. I crossed the finish line with my legs up in the air like Dad does in honor of Aunt Loretta and the scorers.

The Doctor pulled his boat up in front of Dad. I talked to T and the Doctor, shook hands, and told them “great race.” I said to Dad, “Hey Daddio, what’s going on man?” Dad said, “Griffin, you are sailing great, good job” but he seemed kind of unhappy and sharp with his answer!

Before the Silver fleet race began, Frankie and I helped to change the starting line. I watched TJ race and then talked to Mr. (Daniel) Hearn. I told him that Frankie looked good and that he’s figuring it out.

In the third Gold fleet race, I started in the one block, Dad in the four block, the Doctor in the third, and T in the second block. It was another good race. I sailed to windward going slow and tried to pinch up to make the mark. I think I was tenth around the mark. Downwind I got rolling fast, passing boats left and right, and I ended up third in that race. Dad had such a big lead with Kent Baker right behind him. I started to really catch up to them but they were three quarters of a leg ahead of me. I probably finished 30 or 45 seconds after them. When I got out of the boat, I told Dad that I thought I was catching up to him and Kent. Dad kicked my butt in that race.

The fourth Gold fleet race lined up and Dad was in the one block. I’m in the third block to leeward of him. I was still a little bit faster off the line than him and we started that race sailing real fast. I rounded the leeward mark in second place and saw Dad jibe behind me so I jibed as well. Dad passed me and sailed really far ahead of me. I battled with the Doctor, Kent, and Rich Potcova but still held on to second place. When I rounded the weather mark again, I didn’t notice that I was sitting on the sheet. Going downwind, I was catching Dad, I jibed but didn’t have enough sheet to ease out because I was sitting on it and I ended up spinning out. Rich passed me and finished second while I was third. I went to Rich and said, “You’re welcome, man.”

We switched TJ’s runners and tried to align them before the next Silver race. He was going super fast in first place sailing downwind when I heard someone yell. It was TJ who had found a gas hole and I felt so bad that I wanted to cry. He was doing so well. Dad sailed to him. TJ was real mad because he had the lead but he was OK. The boat had a little bit of damage. He couldn’t catch a single break that day.

Photo Credit: Catherine Firmbach
The regatta was called complete. I was stopped five times while sailing back to shore with TJ and Dad’s stuff by people wanting to congratulate me. At the awards, Dad was pretty funny when he complained about having to polish the trophy for T or the Doctor and that if he’d only known I was going to win it, he would have had me “polish my own damned trophy.”

I try to sail my own course but me and Dad think a lot alike. We sail the same race but not on purpose. We both notice wind shifts at the same time. I’m always looking for puffs, the best angle to the mark, and most importantly to err on the side of speed. I learned that from "Daddio".

It’s really important not to worry about how well you do but to have fun, that’s the most important part of any sailing. If you aren’t having fun, you are in the wrong sport.

On the drive home we called Evert Vanderberg to say happy birthday and thank him for letting me use his sail number, US 4. When I got home, I messaged the previous owner of my boat, Merilee Randma. I said, “Guess what, I beat Dad with your boat!” She said she had been following the regatta on Facebook and congratulated me.

I’m signed up to compete at the North Americans. Not sure if I’ll be sharing any speed secrets with Dad! I’m in cross country, hockey, summer sailing, and baseball but none of those sports even come close to ice boat racing. It’s out of this world!